"Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other."

- John F. Kennedy

House Democrats Point to Leadership Failures in Medicaid Expansion Debate

Posted by on Sep 29, 2015

Media Statement

For Immediate Release: September 29, 2015

Contact:     Elizabeth Converse, Communications Director
Utah House Democratic Caucus
801-835-7087 | econverse@le.utah.gov

House Democrats Point to Leadership Failures in Medicaid Expansion Debate

Salt Lake City – In anticipation of the closed-door caucus meetings of Utah House and Senate Republicans today, House Democratic Leader Brian King released the following statement:

“The closed door caucuses scheduled for today are remarkable. Not only is the opinion of the majority of Utahns being completely ignored by Republican leadership in both caucuses, but the Representatives of nearly half a million people in our state are being intentionally kept in the dark about a law that will affect everyone. Most Utahns supported the Healthy Utah plan already agreed to by the Governor and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services last year. So what are we waiting for?

We now know that this new bill is nowhere near finalized, that critical details are still being hammered out behind closed doors, and that hyper-conservative special interest groups are doing anything they can to keep Medicaid expansion from occurring. The specifics of any proposal are not being presented in the clear light of day. Why is that? During general session, Republican leadership was more interested in listening to Congressman Paul Ryan from Wisconsin as he discouraged the Utah House from expanding Medicaid. These extreme obstructionist voices from outside Utah do not reflect the interests or desires of Utahns as a whole.

In Utah, people care about people. Medicaid expansion can be implemented in a way that represents good public policy and takes care of those most in need. Democrats have four guidelines that will help us determine whether or not this plan is the plan that Utahns deserve.

1. For a Medicaid expansion plan to be worthy of Democratic support we require that everyone up to 138% of the federal poverty level receive coverage. Period.

2. There can be no discriminatory treatment in the coverage provided to people who are part of Medicaid expansion. What are acceptable minimum benefits for one group of individuals covered by Medicaid expansion must be acceptable for every member of the group.

3. Funding for the state share of Medicaid expansion must be fair, rational, and not create a disproportionate burden for those providers willing to give medical treatment to those who need it most.

4. Ignoring our federal partners and insisting on passing a piece of legislation that has not been guaranteed to succeed is a political ploy, and one we won’t stand for. Federal authorities need to be as involved in this process as thoroughly they had been for the Healthy Utah negotiations. This is a partnership with the federal government, as Republican leadership keeps reminding us. Yet they seem to forget that as a partnership, there needs to be conversation, negotiation, and agreement. Passing a plan before we know whether the federal government will sign off on it is putting the cart before the horse.

Utahns want Healthy Utah. The Gang of Six’s proposal, ill-formed and unready for prime time, is no Healthy Utah. Democrats in the Utah House and Senate understand the benefit that expanding Medicaid can provide to our communities. We are willing to fight for what is best for Utahns rather than settle for watered down or half cocked substitutes. That is what we were elected to do and we’ll do what is necessary to carry out that charge.”


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Utah House Democrat Enthusiastic About Conservation Success (Sage Grouse)

Posted by on Sep 22, 2015

Media Statement

For Immediate Release: September 21, 2015

Contact:        Elizabeth Converse, Communications Director
Utah House Democratic Caucus
801-835-7087 | econverse@le.utah.gov

Utah House Democrat Enthusiastic About Conservation Success (Sage Grouse)

Salt Lake City – Representative Justin Miller, who sits on the Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environmental Interim Committee, released the following statement after the announcement that Sage Grouse will not be listed as an endangered species:

“I am excited by the Department of Interior’s decision not to list the Sage-Grouse as an endangered species. The state’s multi-year, multi-agency approach to conservation has, for the time being, proved a success. I hope we can build on what we learned here and begin to take proactive steps to protect other potentially endangered species. It is important to recognize the beautiful and unique landscape we are responsible for here in Utah. Caring for it in ethical and fiscally responsible ways will continue to produce these conservation victories.”


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(FedUp) Overdose Awareness Rally

Posted by on Aug 31, 2015

Representative Carol Moss spoke to a full house this evening about the epidemic sweeping the nation and the state of Utah – preventable overdose deaths. 


Utah lost 400 lives last year to overdose – 353 of them from prescription medications like oxycodone, oxycontin, morphine fentanyl, demerol, and heroin. Heroin becomes the drug of choice for addicts when they can no longer get prescriptions. Utah is 5th highest in the nation for overdose deaths. This state loses more people to overdoses than gun violence and traffic fatalities.


In 2014 Representative Moss passed a “good Samaritan” bill that encourages someone witnessing an overdose to call 911 without the fear of being charged for use or possession of illegal drugs. Its companion bill, the “Naloxone Rescue Law”, allows someone who is not a medical professional to administer Naloxone (Narcan) to reverse an overdose. Now, a family member or friend of someone at risk for overdose can get a Naloxone kit, which, if squirted in the nose or injected into muscle will often get the victim breathing again in 1-3 minutes.

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Why is this hitting Utah so hard? A New York Times article from April of this year identified Salt Lake City as a target of drug cartels for being ripe for Heroin sales. A large white, middle class demographic with high rates of prescription pain medications within our state has pushed us over the edge into heroin use once those individuals can no longer get or afford prescriptions.

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The FedUp movement wants to bring this kind of addiction into the light. Addiction is a chronic illness, something that needs to be maintained through access to affordable healthcare and a web of support networks. Drugs like Naxolone are a step in the process to addiction recovery, but there are many more that can be taken to save the lives of our brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, mothers, and fathers.

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Utahns Unite to Prevent Overdose Deaths

Posted by on Aug 30, 2015

Media Advisory

For Immediate Release: August 30, 2015

Contact: Elizabeth Converse, Communications Director
Utah House Democratic Caucus
801-835-7087 | houseminmedia@le.utah.gov

Utahns Unite to Prevent Overdose Deaths

Salt Lake City – Utahns led by the local chapter of Fed Up will rally on the south steps of the Utah Capitol on August 31st at 4 p.m. to call for more legislative and community action to end the epidemic of overdose deaths that is sweeping the state and the nation.

Who:              Sandra Kresser, Utah Fed Up Committee Chair
Representative Carol Spackman Moss
Dr. Jennifer Plumb, Pediatrician
Erin Finkbiner, Max & Jan Lovett
Darlene Schultz & Sonya Hohmeister
Mary Jo McMillen, Utah Support Advocates for Recovery Awareness
Dennis Cecchini
Robbie Bills, Balance House Recovery Residence

What:             Utahns Unite to Prevent Overdose Deaths
Where:          Utah State Capitol, South Steps, 350 N State Street, Salt Lake City, UT 84114
When:            Monday, August 31st, 4-6 p.m.




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Utah House Democrats Express Condolences to Colleague

Posted by on Aug 28, 2015

Utah House Democrats Express Condolences to Colleague

Media Release


For Immediate Release: August 28 , 2015


Contact:          Elizabeth Converse, Communications Director

                       Utah House Democratic Caucus

                       801-835-7087 | houseminmedia@le.utah.gov


Utah House Democrats Express Condolences to Colleague


Salt Lake City – The Utah House Democratic Caucus expresses their deepest condolences to former Representative and current Senator Gene Davis on the passing of his wife, Penny.


House Democratic Leader Brian King said, “Losing someone you love is always hard. Losing your spouse, your best friend, and your biggest champion is something we all wish to never have to go through. Senator Davis was sometimes the most visible spouse, but Penny held the strength of character to keep their family strong and healthy, even through numerous hard and fast 45 day stretches at the Legislature. We all find our inspiration from our lives and our homes. Penny was an inspiration to Senator Davis and to all of us. We hope that their family finds the greatest of peace in this hard time.”



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Dems Make Waves at Planned Parenthood Rally

Posted by on Aug 26, 2015

Dems Make Waves at Planned Parenthood Rally

Utah House Democrats made waves at last night’s #StandwithPP rally on the Capitol’s steps. With upwards of 2000 attendees, our Reps spoke about the need for access to healthcare, education, and information for the entire state. House Democratic Whip Rebecca Chavez-Houck landed front page in today’s Salt Lake Tribune thanks to her willingness to call out Governor Herbert on this dangerous and purely political path. Below are tweets and photos from the event.


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Below, Representatives Chavez-Houck and Angela Romero speak with an activist.

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Representative Brian King and Senator Jim Dabakis in awe of the massive crowd.

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Representative Angela Romero speaks to Planned Parenthood ralliers, and her colleagues, on her experiences using Planned Parenthood.

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Leader King’s Comments on Prison Vote

Posted by on Aug 24, 2015

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